Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Four Productivity Lies. Tim Challies writes “I have invested a lot of effort in understanding productivity and emphasizing it in my life. Eventually I came to peace with it. But I only did so after addressing some of the prevailing lies about it.”
- Entitlement. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses what entitlement means to him.
- 9 Ways to Glorify God at Work in Your “9-5”. Paul Sohn writes “I stumbled across a blog post from John Piper, which he spoke at a conference called Engage whose mission is to equip young professionals in the workplace. The 9 ways Piper he suggests how young professionals can glorify work are worth memorizing.”
- Trust: A Currency For Christian Business. Chris Patton writes “As Christian business owners and leaders, we need people to trust us. We need employees to trust us so we can lead them. We want our customers to trust us so they will buy our products or services and remain loyal to us. Our vendors need to trust us to pay them accurately and on time or they will not continue to service us.”
- Four Huge Distractions in Meetings and How to Fight Them. Eric Geiger writes “One of the biggest culprits of disengagement in a meeting are distractions. Distractions can steer emotional energy, creative thinking, and collective wisdom away from the important matters being discussed.”
- Are You Putting the Gospel to Work? Steve Graves writes “Make no mistake; every community has men and women putting the gospel to work. Those who work next to them and live in community with them know them as catalytic vessels of salt, light, and the sweet perfume of the gospel.”
- The Centennials are Coming. Mark Miller talks about the Centennials. He writes “They are a cohort of approximately 73 million young people born between 1997 and today. And guess what… in many areas, they see the world differently from previous generations.”
- How I Work: An Interview with Melissa Kruger. Joe Carter interviews Melissa Kruger, a Women’s Ministry Coordinator, writer, wife and mother, about how she works.
- How to be a Great Mentor. Dan Rockwell writes “Great mentoring is more than developing skills, helping people create connections, and navigating organizational politics.”
- Lessons from the First 20 Years, Part 2. In this edition of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, he concludes a conversation that explores the best, most effective leadership principles learned in the first 20 years of his organization.
- 10 Things Leaders Should Never Do. Mark Miller shares his answer to the question “What are the things a leader should never do?”
- 5 Things for Which All Leaders Should Pray. Art Rainer writes “Leaders have a great responsibility. By the very nature of their role they are responsible for guiding others. For those who choose to take on this responsibility, prayer becomes a necessity.”
- Five Reasons Leaders Must Constantly Clarify and Communicate Mission. Eric Geiger writes “It is insufficient to declare mission once. Clarifying and communicating mission is not a once-and-for-all event but a continual discipline. Leaders must constantly repeat the significant things, must constantly remind people what is important.
- Leadership and the Local Church with John Maxwell. In this edition of the “Rainer on Leadership” podcast, John Maxwell discusses his latest book, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters. They also cover a few leadership topics related to the local church like pastoral tenure, the need for leadership training, and how to make a difference that outlasts your life.
- The 5 Ultimate Responsibilities of Leadership. Dan Rockwell writes “Frantic leaders manage too much and lead too little.” He suggests that leaders engage in fewer activities.
- John Maxwell on Leadership Changes Through the Years. In this edition of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, John Maxwell talks about how leadership has changed over the years. Maxwell also shares about his new book, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.
- 7 Ways to Gain and Keep Trust as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “People follow people they trust. I’ve found trust develops over time and experience – as we witness trustworthy behavior. Honestly, as a leader, I’ve felt a delicate tension in maintaining trust. People look for a leader to be strong, independent and confident. Yet, we trust people who are approachable, inclusive and humble. How do we combine those traits to be trusted leaders?”
Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- The leader’s job is to inspire people to work together in the service of something greater than themselves. Eric Geiger
- We are most likely to succeed when ambition is focused on noble and worthy purposes and outcomes rather than on goals set out of selfishness. John Wooden
- Tell me how many things you’ve finished, not how many you’ve started. Dan Rockwell
- We’re made for work and rest, not toil and leisure. Andy Crouch
- We must find a purpose or cause to pursue otherwise all we have left are our imperfections to focus on. Simon Sinek
- With all the negative going on in the world, it is important to lead with a mindful and open heart and be the change you wish to see. Ken Blanchard
- Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear. Marcus Buckingham
- Your team will mirror you. If there is something you don’t like, you probably created it. Brad Lomenick
- Leaders who attempt to make all the decisions are stunting the growth of their people and their organization. Mark Miller
- When something bad happens you have three choices: You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you. Coach K
BOOK REVIEW: Creating a Business Plan that Actually Works: Especially, But Not Only, for Faith-Based Organizations by Matt Perman. What’s Best Next. 33 pages.
Matt Perman is the author of the excellent 2014 book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. That book was so helpful (I’m reading it a second time with colleagues at work) that I’m going to be interested in anything that he writes. He is an important voice in helping people integrate their faith with their work. In fact he states that this resource will be especially helpful for those looking for a resource that makes the integration of faith and work explicit. He encourages us to see our work as an act of service, to the glory of God, stating it is at the heart of how to glorify God in our work and do your business plan in a gospel-centered way.
He writes that this short e-book was written to provide guidance for how to create a business plan that actually works––a plan that will truly help you in launching your new business, department, or other large initiative, without getting you stuck in the details of over-planning. It also gives specific guidance for how to create a business plan from a faith-based perspective.
He defines a business plan as simply a guide or road map for your business, new department, or other large effort. It will help us think through and articulate your mission and values, main objectives, core audience, comparison organizations or competitors, financial plan, core activities, marketing plan, and other key realities. A business plan is not just for those starting a new business. Perman states that if you’re starting anything or want to refine what you’ve already started, a business plan is a key step.
In looking at how to create a business plan that actually works and to do so in a way that relates to the Scriptures, we should learn from the best business minds (Jim Collins, for example), common grace realities as well as the Bible.
He takes the reader through each of the sections of a business plan and briefly explains what they mean and how it translates into the ongoing fabric of our business. He also includes some helpful resources that you may find useful. He stresses that the process of developing a business plan is as important as the final result; as the activity of thinking through your business or new endeavor in this way prepares you for effective implementation.
This short book contains much helpful information and is well worth your time to read it. I know I’ll be sharing what I learned here with others, including my sister-in-law who is the Director of a Pregnancy Resource Center.
BOOK REVIEW: StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham. Harvard Business Review Press. 211 Pages. 2015
I’m a big Marcus Buckingham fan, having read all of his books, with the exception of the one he specifically wrote for women. Eight years ago, when on the leadership team for a professional learning organization we brought him to our community as a part of his book tour for Go Put Your Strengths to Work, one of the most impactful business books I have read. He briefly revisits his “Love it/Loathe it” exercise from that book here, an exercise I continue to use both on and off the job.
Buckingham writes that although the strengths-based approach to managing people is now conventional wisdom, performance appraisal systems remain “stubbornly remedial”. In this new book, Buckingham has taken his StandOut strengths assessment (introduced in 2011) and dramatically increased its power.
A few of the enhancements are:
- To make our strengths visible, he has designed a StandOut Snapshot that can be used to present the very best of ourselves to our teams and organizations.
- To give us a way to keep learning, he has provided us with our own personal learning channel.
- The StandOut assessment has been made to be a “front door” to an online performance system that is entirely strengths based. He wants us to think of StandOut as a toolbox, in which each tool is designed to tackle one aspect of performance management. To help us do more of our best work, the reader will receive a weekly “Check-In” tool that will capture our weekly priorities and track how engaged you feel week by week.
- Leaders will find an employee survey tool that can be used to see what your team is thinking and feeling, as well as a performance tool to evaluate the performance of each member.
The above enhancements are designed to help you and your teams to leverage your strengths and manage around your weaknesses. The new tool is not just a descriptive tool but also a prescriptive tool. The StandOut assessment measures you on nine strengths roles and reveals your top two “strength roles”. The book provides you with a key to input and take the assessment, which will take about fifteen minutes. Your results will reveal how you come across to others. Buckingham shares with the reader three lessons for building your strengths. He calls the StandOut assessment an innovation delivery system. It delivers to those who complete the assessment weekly practical innovations, tips and techniques that you can use to sharpen your edge and win at work. I plan to share my assessment with team members and mentees and encourage them to take it as well.
Don’t Waste Your Life Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003
Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.
This week we look at Chapter 2 Breakthrough – the Beauty of Christ, My Joy:
- If there is only one life to live in this world, and if it is not to be wasted, nothing seemed more important to me than finding out what God really meant in the Bible, since he inspired men to write it. If that was up for grabs, then no one could tell which life is worthy and which life is wasted.
- The driving passion of my life was rooted here. One of the seeds was in the word “glory”—God’s aim in history was to “fully display his glory.” Another seed was in the word “delight”—God’s aim was that his people “delight in him with all their heart.” The passion of my life has been to understand and live and teach and preach how these two aims of God relate to each other—indeed, how they are not two but one.
- No one outside Scripture has shaped my vision of God and the Christian life more than Jonathan Edwards. His life is inspiring because of his zeal not to waste it, and because of his passion for the supremacy of God.
- Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life; it is our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same.
- Here was the greatest mind of early America, Jonathan Edwards, saying that God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion. When I saw this, I knew, at last, what a wasted life would be and how to avoid it.
- God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.
- The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.
- The Bible is crystal-clear: God created us for his glory.
- Life is wasted when we do not live for the glory of God. And I mean all of life. It is all for his glory.
- We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life.
- God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is.
- We were made to see and savor God—and savoring him, to be supremely satisfied, and thus spread in all the world the worth of his presence. Not to show people the all-satisfying God is not to love them.
- The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.
- Love has to do with showing a dying soul the life-giving beauty of the glory of God, especially his grace.
- Every good work should be a revelation of the glory of God. What makes the good deed an act of love is not the raw act, but the passion and the sacrifice to make God himself known as glorious.
- If you don’t point people to God for everlasting joy, you don’t love. You waste your life.
- All heroes are shadows of Christ. We love to admire their excellence. How much more will we be satisfied by the one Person who conceived all excellence and embodies all skill, all talent, all strength and brilliance and savvy and goodness.
- God loves us by liberating us from the bondage of self so that we can enjoy knowing and admiring him forever.
- Would you feel more loved by God if he made much of you, or if he liberated you from the bondage of self-regard, at great cost to himself, so that you enjoy making much of him forever?
- Now we see that in creating us for his glory, he is creating us for our highest joy. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
- That is the single, all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.
- God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.
- Jesus is the litmus test of reality for all persons and all religions. He said it clearly: “The one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). People and religions who reject Christ reject God. Do other religions know the true God? Here is the test: Do they reject Jesus as the only Savior for sinners who was crucified and raised by God from the dead? If they do, they do not know God in a saving way.
- There is no point in romanticizing other religions that reject the deity and saving work of Christ. They do not know God. And those who follow them tragically waste their lives.
- Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain.